National Wildlife Refuge System
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May 2013 Events

Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Sheila Eyler tags a horseshoe crab on a Delaware beach. Every spring, the crabs come ashore to spawn. Red knots (a kind of shorebird) feed on the crab eggs. On May 25, the Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge celebrates the natural phenomena.
Credit: Robert H. Pos

International Migratory Bird Day
Refuges across the nation will host events in May to mark International Migratory Bird Day, which is celebrated this year on or about May 12. Here are a few examples:

  • South Bay Bird Fest
  • Saturday, May 11, noon to 3 p.m. – Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
    Take part in guided walks, games, crafts, face painting and other activities at the Alviso Environmental Education Center.  See a live bird show showcasing avian antics.
  • Bird Watching Trip
  • Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 19, 8 a.m. – Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
    Join an expert birder for a free guided bird-watching trip through the refuge. All levels of experience welcome. Bring binoculars and field guides. No preregistration is required. Meet at the visitor center.
  • Wings Over Muscatatuck Bird Festival
  • Saturday, May 11 – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
    The 2013 festival will feature bird tours, children’s activities, live birds of prey, guided walks and interpretive programs, bird banding and other special events.
  • Yakima Valley Spring Migration
  • Saturday, May 11 – Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge, WA
    Celebrate the migration of birds and their return to the Yakima Valley. Come identify, count and observe bird species throughout the morning.
  • Bird Walks
  • Saturday, May 11, 7 a.m. to noon – John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, PA
    Join a bird walk to see and learn about species that use the refuge. Spring migration peaks in May, as colorful warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings and orioles move through. The refuge’s bald eagle chicks will be about eight weeks old and getting ready to fledge in June.
  • Kenai Birding Festival
  • Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, AK
    Share your interest in the birds on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The area offers pristine beaches, beautiful state parks, a fantastic wildlife refuge and, best of all, thousands of birds. The festival includes a series of talks and birding field trips.

Nature Discovery Hike for Families
Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. — Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, ME
Discover the wild world around us. Children of all ages are welcome. Meet at the parking lot just beyond Carter Meadow Road. More information: 207-745-0676.


Birding the Backyards of America
Saturday, May 4, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, NY
Author Randi Minetor and her husband, photographer Nic Minetor, bring you stunning photos and fascinating stories of chasing down nectar feeders from southeastern Arizona to the boreal forests of Yellowstone National Park.


Spring Wildflower Walk
Wednesday, May 8, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Look for wildflowers, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, May-apple and other spring bloomers. Meet at the visitor center.


Archery Class for Children
Thursday, May 9, 4:30 p.m. — Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Refuge staff will lead archery classes for children in grades 4 through 8. This training follows the National Archery in the Schools Program and will provide 24 hours of instruction and practice followed by a tournament. Registration is required. Contact Fran Stephenson, 938-702-7266 ext. 10.


Birding Expedition
Saturday, May 11, 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, NY
The Family Nature Club will identify birds near the visitor center, Seneca Trail and Wildlife Drive. Families will learn to identify common birds, using binoculars and field guides.


Vernal Pools
Saturday, May 11, 8 a.m. to noon — Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, ME
Learn to identify vernal pools and their inhabitants. Expect to see yellow and blue spotted salamanders and wood frogs. The event is free.


Whooping Crane Tour
Sunday, May 12, 2 to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to see endangered whooping cranes. Arrive early; tour will leave on time. Space is limited. Registration is required: 301-497-5565.


Disappearing Treasures: National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository Tour
Friday, May 17, 10 a.m. to noon — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Tour this one-of-a-kind facility that stores confiscated and illegally imported animal products from U.S. borders. This facility also manages the Native American Eagle Feather Program. Sign up: 303‐289‐0930


Hike with a Ranger
Saturday, May 18, 7 to 11 a.m. — San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Learn about the unique habitats of this refuge. Walk on the Par 4 Drive Trail in East County, Jamul. Look for spring birds. All ages are welcome.


Youth Fishing Day
Saturday, May 18, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Introduce a child to fishing and build support for the outdoors. The event is meant for children, ages 5 to 12. The refuge provides bait, fishing rods and snacks. Volunteers and staff will demonstrate fishing techniques, handling and fish identification. Register: 703-490-4979.


Endangered Species Day
Saturday, May 18, 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Tour the refuge’s normally closed Warm Springs Unit, which protects threatened and endangered species such as Contra Costa goldfields, vernal pool tadpole shrimp and California tiger salamanders. Hear how the Endangered Species Act, 40 years old this year, protects these species. See spring wildflowers and dip for California tiger salamander larvae, if conditions permit. Reservations: 510-792-0222 ext. 362


10th Annual Downeast Spring Bird Festival
Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26 — Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, ME
Enjoy a weekend-long birding event.


Hummingbird Photography
Saturday, May 25, 8 a.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Learn about photographing hummingbirds from with Jerry Goffe, one of Audubon's 2013 calendar photographers. Practice doing it yourself. Meet at visitor center.


Puppet Show: On the Wild Side
Saturday, May 25, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Follow the journey of a hamster to see if he’s a wild or domestic animal in this puppet show. Show runs approximately 20 minutes. All ages welcome. No registration necessary.


Shorebird and Horseshoe Crab Presentation
Saturday, May 25, 9 a.m. to noon — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Learn about shorebird migration and horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay. Then head to Pickering Beach and Port Mahon to see shorebirds and the horseshoe crabs that come ashore to spawn. Meet at the refuge auditorium.


Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival
Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Learn about the area’s horseshoe crabs and shorebirds. Enjoy live music, guided canoe trips, children’s activities, the Horseshoe Crab Express train ride, a scavenger hunt, and trail walks. Activities will take place in the Town of Milton.


Refuge History
Saturday, May 25, 2 p.m. — Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Welcome a piece of history back to our WWII bunkers – a giant gun, 68-feet long and weighing 120 tons. This barrel stood guard on the USS Missouri as the Japanese surrendered at the end of the war.


Pennsylvania Free Fishing Day
Saturday, May 27, 8:30 a.m. — John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, PA
Enjoy this event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. Refuge buildings will be closed for the holiday, but grounds will be open from sunrise to sunset.


Canaan Valley Birding Festival
Thursday, May 30 to Sunday, June 2 — Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, WV
Visit the spectacular Allegheny Highlands region and enjoy the area’s broad mix of breeding birds and habitats. These habitats include boreal forest, wetland and high altitude (4,250 feet).  Join bird walks, hear guest speakers, take part in other fun activities for nature lovers of all levels of experience.


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Last updated: April 26, 2013